Here are updates with the Tennessee School for the Deaf and the removal of Deaf woman Dr. Nancylynn Ward from her superintendent position last Monday.
I talked with several people who are familiar with the school.
They described rampant discrimination and audism on campus, saying it has been going on for years. When Dr. Ward was hired, they looked at it as an opportunity for a new era, and are now deeply disappointed she is gone.
One person said there was an “old guard” of employees who did not like the changes Dr. Ward were making on campus, such as requiring hearing staff to sign instead of only using their voices, pushing for a bi-bi educational approach, changing class scheduling structures, or hiring more deaf staff — so the “old guard” reached out to the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) in Nashville to make complaints.
The DOE is said to be receptive to the complaints from the “old guard” but never asked or gave Dr. Ward the opportunity to address the issues — leaving Dr. Ward out of the loop.
After Dr. Ward was relieved of her position last Monday, she posted a statement on her personal Facebook wall saying she was “at peace,” that she was walking with God out of “this mess” and that the “fissures” would lead to a better future.
A Deaf woman, Mary Wynn-Carver, who had a daughter that attended TSD several years ago, said in a Facebook vlog that she looked at Dr. Ward’s statement as a “call to action.” She said we shouldn’t accept oppression and show young children that it was okay on how Dr. Ward was treated.
Her daughter, Torey also made a vlog saying she is sad and disturbed at Dr. Ward’s removal and that this was another instance of oppression.
I reached out to the TDOE again with this new information, and they said they couldn’t share any details regarding personnel matters and decisions. They said the department does not discriminate in any way in making hiring or termination decisions.
That’s all the updates I have for now.